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In recent years, new applications, architectures, and technologies have been proposed for vehicular ad hoc networks (VANETs). Regarding traffic safety applications for VANETs, warning messages have to be quickly and smartly disseminated in order to reduce the required dissemination time and to increase the number of vehicles receiving the traffic warning information. In the past, several approaches have been proposed to improve the alert dissemination process in multihop wireless networks, but none of them were tested in real urban scenarios, adapting its behavior to the propagation features of the scenario. In this paper, we present the Profile-driven Adaptive Warning Dissemination Scheme (PAWDS) designed to improve the warning message dissemination process. With respect to previous proposals, our proposed scheme uses a mapping technique based on adapting the dissemination strategy according to both the characteristics of the street area where the vehicles are moving and the density of vehicles in the target scenario. Our algorithm reported a noticeable improvement in the performance of alert dissemination processes in scenarios based on real city maps.